Eh?

Some 5-10% of girls and 1-5% of boys have been subjected to penetrative sex, usually by a family friend or relative. If sexual abuse is defined more widely – as anything from being shown pornographic magazines to rape – it is estimated that it will include at least 15% of girls and 5% of boys.

Does anyone actually believe these numbers?

12 comments on “Eh?

  1. I’m fairly sure that those who do, or who purport to, are using them as a reason why “if we just had more funding from da guvvamint……….. “.

  2. Wasn’t it Lancet who claimed there were more civilian casualties in Iraq since 2003 than the entire civilian casualties suffered by Britain in the World War II – a country then about 3 times the population, in a much longer war, against an enemy which actively sought civilian death with considerably more vigour.

    If we are talking about exposure to pornographic magazines, if you include Razzle and its ilk in that definition, I would have thought the number of boys who have seen a copy to be somewhere around 100%.

  3. They’re not saying “1/20 girls of all ages have had penetrative sex with an adult” – obviously, that’d be nonsense. They’re saying “1/20 girls have had penetrative sex with an adult /by the time they reach their 16th birthday/” – and that seems entirely likely, given that ‘adult’ is 18+.

    On the exposure to porn – you need to be shown it by a grown-up for it to count in the stats, so finding a Razzle inna hedge doesn’t count…

  4. I’m sceptical about the range,

    5-10% of girls and 1-5% of boys

    can’t they be more precise? Is there that much uncertainty in the figures? For the boys figure thats a 500% margin of error.

  5. can’t they be more precise? Is there that much uncertainty in the figures?

    My guess is ‘yes’. Not even because of definitional vagueness, but because you need to be bloody sensitive on this kind of survey to get people to open up (and, particularly when you’ve got proportions of respondents as low as some of the boys estimates, the prevalence of loonies / people who don’t understand the question / miscoding / other noise also gets in the way), so design and execution will have a massive impact on results.

  6. “if you include Razzle and its ilk in that definition, I would have thought the number of boys who have seen a copy to be somewhere around 100%.”

    Nah, no -one buys porn mags anymore, they get their porn from the Internet (which obviously must therefore be banned).

  7. against an enemy which actively sought civilian death with considerably more vigour.

    Missed this one last time. It’s entirely clear that the assorted post-war militias, terrorist groupings and other thugs did indeed seek civilian Iraqi deaths with at least as much vigour, and substantially more success, than WWII Germany sought civilian British deaths.

    Since the Lancet study was a measure of changes in the overall and violent death rate, not an attempt to count bodies or ascribe violent deaths to particular perpetrators, the (undisputed by anyone involved with the study) fact that UK/US troops weren’t responsible for very many such deaths isn’t relevant to the outcome.

  8. “They’re not saying “1/20 girls of all ages have had penetrative sex with an adult” – obviously, that’d be nonsense. They’re saying “1/20 girls have had penetrative sex with an adult /by the time they reach their 16th birthday/” – and that seems entirely likely, given that ‘adult’ is 18+.”

    Are they? Where does it say that they used 16 as a measure?

    Tim adds: Actually, it’s even worse than that. “Childhood” is defined as “up to 18”. I phoned them up and asked. So a 17 year old legally shagging a 19 year old friend of the family is “penetrative sexual abuse”.

  9. So their actual statement is that between 5 and 10% of girls have sex with someone over 18 before their 18th birthday? Given that teenage girls tend to go for slightly older boyfriends, I’m surprised that the number is so low.

  10. So that scene in American Pie where Jim’s dad discusses the content of pornographic magazines with his son was actually a depiction of sexual abuse?

    Be careful with the birds and the bees talk, people.

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